Zambia - The Salesian heart of Zambia

10 March 2021

(ANS - Kabwe) - The city of Kabwe is a center of the mining industry, located in the Central Province of Zambia. Since 1987, Don Bosco's mission in this area has been slowly growing and taking root in the Catholic community and in the local society. It is no coincidence that the latest development in the second community of Kabwe-Makululu is called "Ciloto", or "Dream", in the Bemba language.

There are two Salesian communities in Kabwe. The mother house of “St. Mary” is located in the old parish ceded by the Jesuits in 1987, which has about 4,000 Catholics. The other community of Makululu, on the other hand, started from the parish of St John Bosco, founded in 2015. Both communities are international and multicultural, reaching a total of about 10,000 Catholics and have hundreds of catechumens. There are primary and secondary schools, Vocational Training Centers, Oratories, Youth Centers that welcome thousands of young people. The Salesian Family, moreover, is in an initial phase of establishing and organizing the first center of Salesian Cooperators and of Past Pupils.

After 9 years, the novitiate of the "Zambia-Malawi-Zimbabwe-Namibia" Vice Province (ZMB) was transferred back to Kabwe in 2019. Currently the novice master, Fr Treshphord Chisanga, is accompanying 11 novices from 5 countries: South Africa, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Namibia and Zambia. Among the apostolic experiences of the novices there is also their presence at the Oratory and at the “Ciloto” House, which provides specialized care for street children.

Many lay people, as mission partners, are engaged in their role as teachers, educators, social workers, catechists or animators, responsible for various youth groups. Don Bosco's "Preventive System" is becoming more and more familiar to the local Catholic community.

When the diocese of Kabwe was established in 2011, its first bishop was a Salesian of Don Bosco: the first Salesian bishop of Zambia, Mgr. Clement Mulenga. His diocese today covers a vast territory of 63,000 square kilometers, with 31 parishes, 18 diocesan priests, 33 religious and 25 major seminarians. As in the rest of the African continent, the key expression is "self-sustainability of the mission." Even the complex of the bishop's residence, in fact, looks like a garden inspired by the encyclical Laudato Si', with numerous animals and a large green space.

The recent House of Hope, “Ciloto”, for street kids is of great importance. The children who turn to it (currently there are about 90) are offered an education, but also shelter, family spirit and the possibility of transforming their lives. Also, new educational structures are being built on the large land owned by the Salesians.

Don Bosco's dream in this part of Zambia thus continues. Let us pray that more and more young people may discover and follow Don Bosco, to live fully for God and for other young people in need.


ANS - “Agenzia iNfo Salesiana” is a on-line almost daily publication, the communication agency of the Salesian Congregation enrolled in the Press Register of the Tibunal of Rome as n 153/2007.

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